Objective To identify and critique tools that assess Ca and/or dairy intake in children to ascertain the most accurate and reliable tools available. Design A systematic review of the literature was conducted using defined inclusion and exclusion criteria. Articles were included on the basis that they reported on a tool measuring Ca and/or dairy intake in children in Western countries and reported on originally developed tools or tested the validity or reliability of existing tools. Defined criteria for reporting reliability and validity properties were applied. Setting Studies in Western countries. Subjects Children. Results Eighteen papers reporting on two tools that assessed dairy intake, ten that assessed Ca intake and five that assessed both dairy and Ca were identified. An examination of tool testing revealed high reliance on lower-order tests such as correlation and failure to differentiate between statistical and clinically meaningful significance. Only half of the tools were tested for reliability and results indicated that only one Ca tool and one dairy tool were reliable. Validation studies showed acceptable levels of agreement (<100 mg difference) and/or sensitivity (62-83 %) and specificity (55-77 %) in three Ca tools. With reference to the testing methodology and results, no tools were considered both valid and reliable for the assessment of dairy intake and only one tool proved valid and reliable for the assessment of Ca intake. Conclusions These results clearly indicate the need for development and rigorous testing of tools to assess Ca and/or dairy intake in children and adolescents.
- Dietary assessment